By Lamonica Sanford
Georgia College’s Russell Library is located in Milledgeville, Ga. Ina Dillard Russell Library is the heart of the Georgia College & State University campus, serving the campus community of Georgia’s designated public liberal arts university. Russell Library primarily serves students, faculty, and staff through its physical and virtual resources and services.
The Russell Library’s mission is to prepare inquisitive academics to thrive in an information-intensive and diverse global community by identifying, collecting, and providing access to resources, developing learning-centered services and by providing instruction and expert support in a learning-rich environment. By creating a culture of innovation and a space for collaboration and development, library faculty and staff seek to impart the skills necessary for success.
The library’s departments include the Administrative Office, Access Services, Collection & Resource Services, Instruction & Research Services, Operation & Strategic Initiatives, and Special Collections. The library also houses the university’s Learning Center, Center for Teaching & Learning, Student Disability Resource Center, Center for Testing, Innovation Center, and Books & Brew.
The library is one of the largest repositories in the area. Our holdings include the papers of author Flannery O’Connor, Congressman Carl Vinson, and papers and artifacts from the collection of the Honorable Floyd L. Griffin, Jr., the first African American elected to the Georgia legislature from a majority white rural district since Reconstruction and the first African American mayor of Milledgeville. The acquisition of the Griffin collection was a major coup for the library and for the university in our efforts to strengthen community relationships.
In support of Georgia College’s Diversity Action Plan, the library has made progress in diversifying its physical and electronic collections through a combination of trials and subscriptions. The library’s commitment to diversity is also seen through recent programming efforts. In 2018, the library received a Common Heritage Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to administer a project entitled “Documenting Milledgeville’s African American History” which will bring the community together by digitizing materials documenting the area’s African American history. As part of the grant, several library staff attended a scanning and metadata training this spring given by the Digital Library of Georgia to train staff for the two community harvest days that will be planned later this summer and early fall.
In 2018, the library along with the university’s English department received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Big Read grant. Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow was the selected title. Programming included book discussions on campus, at the Twins Lake Library System, in local barbershops, and with the African American Male Initiative at Georgia College. Programming also included a community photography workshop and performance of screen adaptions and readings by Baldwin County High School students.
As a way of addressing the various learning styles and instructional strategies, the library’s heavily used library instruction room is currently being converted into an active learning classroom. The new classroom will include flexible seating options that will facilitate group work, multiple interactive displays, mobile boards for individual and group use, and other technology to be used by students, librarians and other faculty, and staff to aid in instructional and informational sessions.
For more information about Georgia College’s Russel Library, please visit https://www.gcsu.edu/library